St Mary's Church, Handbridge

St Mary's Church, Handbridge is in Handbridge, an area south of the River Dee, in the city of Chester, Cheshire, England. It is also known as the Church of St Mary-without-the-Walls. The church has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building. It is an active Anglican parish church in the diocese of Chester, the archdeaconry of Chester and the deanery of Chester.


The church was built between 1885 and 1887 to a design by F. B. Wade for the 1st Duke of Westminster. A porch was added on the south face of the tower in 1914 which was designed by P. H. Lockwood.


The church is built in red sandstone with Westmorland green slate roofs. Its plan consists of a five-bay nave with a clerestory, a three-bay chancel, a chapel at the southeast, an organ chamber and a vestry. There are two porches, on one the south and one on the north. At the west end is a three-stage tower with a recessed spire. It has clock faces to the north, west and south, paired louvred bell-openings on each face, a machicolated parapet, two pinnacles at each corner, lucarnes to each cardinal face of the spire and a weathervane.


The baptistry is in the tower and has an encaustic tiled floor and a stone font with an oak cover. The stained glass in the baptistry is dated 1887 and is by Edward Frampton. It depicts Christ's baptism. In the baptistry is a portrait memorial dated 1900 to the first Duke of Westminster. The nave is floored with wood blocks. There are three steps up to the chancel with wrought iron rails. The chancel has a mosaic floor. The southeast chapel has a wrought iron screen. The pulpit and lectern are in oak. To the north of the chancel is a sedilia. The east window is probably also by Frampton. The architectural historian Pevsner considered that the reredos is "the most interesting piece in the church". It is dated 1888 and was designed by Frederic Shields and made in cloisonné by Clement Heaton. The ring consists of eight bells which were cast by Mears and Stainbank at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1887.

External features

The walls, gates and railings of the churchyard were also designed by F. B. Wade for the first Duke of Westminster in 1887, and are listed Grade II.